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Department of Government


  • SPA: Government
    Ward, Room 230

    Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

Mailing Address
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Interdisciplinary Studies: Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics, and Government (CLEG) (BA)

Offered by the Department of Government, School of Public Affairs, this interdisciplinary major is designed for students who want a breadth of background necessary to participate effectively in decision making for public affairs and the practical training necessary to deal with social problems as public issues.

Admission to the Program

New freshmen and transfer students are admitted through the university's Admissions Office. Students currently enrolled in the university who wish to transfer into the Department of Government or develop a double major or minor should have a grade point average of 2.50 or higher and the approval of the undergraduate academic advisor.

University Requirements

  • 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better
  • Completion of college writing requirement
  • Completion of university mathematics requirement

General Education Requirements

  • A total of ten courses, consisting of two courses from each of the five foundational areas
  • At least one course from Area Five: The Natural and Mathematical Sciences must include a laboratory science component
  • No more than two courses may be taken in the same discipline

Major Requirements

  • 57 credit hours with grades of C or better

Course Requirements


One course from the following:

Additional Credit Hours

  • 24 additional credit hours, including 12 credit hours at the 300 level or above, selected from a list of approved courses in communication (COMM-xxx), legal institutions (JLS-xxx), economics (ECON-xxx), and government (GOVT-xxx). The list of approved courses is available in the Department of Government office.

University Honors Program

To graduate with University Honors in the major through the University Honors Program, students must meet the requirements detailed on the Honors website and have been enrolled as either a first-year student between Fall 1989 and Spring 2014, or as a transfer or self-nominated student through Spring 2015. The University Honors Program should not be confused with the AU Honors Program, which begins in Fall 2014 and has separate requirements, also detailed on the Honors website.

Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees

American University offers students the opportunity to earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its combined bachelor's/master's programs. See Combined Bachelor's and Master's Degrees for more information.

Apply Now

For additional information regarding American University's undergraduate admissions requirements and application process, please visit american.edu/admissions.

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SPA undergraduate program experience

We offer our students extensive individual attention and a dynamic and rigorous curriculum. We heavily promote our academic side, offering in-depth learning from accomplished faculty, and we also encourage our students to undertake internships and study abroad.

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Program Goals

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of key theories, concepts, and issues surrounding the study of political institutions and processes from the four foci of the major: Communications, Law, Economics, and Government.
  2. Demonstrate critical thinking, written and oral communication skills.
  3. Demonstrate competence in analyzing, interpreting and evaluating. within the realm of public policy.
  4. Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the major to the practice of actual politics and policy-making.